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Customer Support: What It Is and How to Outsource It

Gaining new customers can be pretty difficult in today’s competitive world: all the more reason to keep them once you have them. Losing customers is easier than gaining them, and the link that keeps them choosing you, or that drives them to your competitors, is often the quality of the customer support your business offers. 

You probably have an off-the-cuff answer to the question “What is customer support?” But the answer might include some elements you hadn’t considered. So, before we look at outsourcing a function that many businesses see as a necessary evil, let’s look at what it is.

The Million Dollar Question: What is Customer Support?

Most of us will be aware of customer support as a service that helps clients to make the right choice of product, and assists with any difficulties clients might experience with buying or using it. But customer support continues to have a role throughout the time your customers use the product, up to and including disposing of it or discontinuing its use. Will they upgrade to a new iteration of your offering? Customer support plays a role here too.  

Your product or service solves a problem for consumers. Looking for an alternative solution takes time and effort. They’d far rather stick with you than start researching alternatives – provided you gave them the customer support they need. So, even when it comes to disposing of an item, they’re more likely to fulfil their need by upgrading to something new you can offer than they are to walk away. 

You’ve probably heard people say that they’re willing to absorb higher costs because of perceived quality and good service levels. Building and maintaining these perceptions requires a company to know what excellent customer support services are and offering them.

What About Chatbots?

Let’s not overlook automation. Chatbots and help menus can go a long way toward helping your clients find basic support solutions. But anyone who has navigated endless help menus, and has tried rephrasing questions so that bots can actually understand them, will know just how frustrating that can be. If you were to be asked what customer service support is, and the only answer you have is a bot, that’s not going to look good for you.

Don’t get us wrong. Bots can be useful. But if your customer wants to talk to a human being, there should be one available, and it shouldn’t be too hard to reach them. The human element puts your customer in the driver’s seat, right where they want to be. They want to phrase their questions as they please. They may even want a little sympathy, especially if they started with a bot before giving up in despair.

“We Don’t Have Time for This!” How to Outsource Customer Support

Your business started with a great idea. You won hearts and minds. But when it comes to customer support, you can’t be blamed if impatience sets in. Queries range from those requiring the most basic of answers including asking whether devices have been plugged in, for example, to the anomalies nobody’s quite sure how to deal with. But deal with them you must! 

That this diverts time and resources away from your core business is an obvious truth, but outsourcing customer support isn’t just a matter of finding someone to answer the phone or check emails. Choose the wrong people for the job, and your business’s image will suffer. 

Let’s face it: your customers want to feel special. Whether it’s fair or not, your entire company, up to and including the CEO will be judged on the strength of the person who dealt with customer support queries. At RSVP, we know just how important it is to create the impression our B2B clients want – and that means so much more than just picking up the phone. 

Steps for Outsourcing Customer Support

We’ve already ascertained that you don’t want just any Tom, Dick, or Harry representing your firm. We’ve touched on the limitations of Bobby the Bot. So, what steps should you follow when outsourcing customer support? 

Not to put too fine a point on it, you want a company that takes your business seriously. One that has your customers’ interests, and your interests, at heart. You need a company with highly-trained communicators who will talk to you as well as your customers. You need so much more than “someone to answer the phone.” 

That’s because you absolutely must know what your customers are saying, what problems they have, and what questions they raise. Meanwhile, your customers need to feel as well-nurtured as if they’d spoken to someone at management level: someone with both technical and people-oriented skills. There’s no denying that price-points matter, but you need to know that your money has been well spent. It’s a strategically important business decision. Here are five steps to follow in order to make it. 

  1. Get in touch. Evaluate the service you received when you did this. 
  2. Ask key questions. Will an outsourced customer service company offer 24/7 service? What languages can they support? How will they ensure that customers experience their service as “yours?”
  3. Find out about other companies that use the service and contact them to discover whether they are satisfied. 
  4. Discuss your requirements including call volumes, as well as the training of operatives and how they will handle customer enquiries they aren’t qualified to solve. 
  5. Evaluate the terms, conditions, and cost of the service. You aren’t looking for the cheapest, but you are looking for the best quality at a reasonable cost. 

Advantages of Outsourcing Customer Support

As your business grows, you’ll have less and less time to give “support functions” your management team’s personal attention. That doesn’t just mean customer support. “Support functions” embrace everything you do that makes it possible to do business effectively, but that doesn’t form part of your core business. These peripheral, but essential activities distract you from doing what you do to make money, while at the same time making it possible to remain in business. They could include items like accounting, payroll, HR, and (you guessed it) customer support. 

Without them, you can’t function, but they don’t fit in with the single thing you do best, whether that’s offering cloud-based software or handy home gadgetry. The solution? Outsource these support functions to companies that see them as core. You do what you do best, and they support you by specialising in what they do best and doing it on your behalf. 

You enjoy the opportunity to concentrate on your core business. You get specialists to deal with things you don’t want to specialise in, and you might even save costs along the way. 

Baulking at the notion of opening a 24/7 customer support helpline? Wondering how you’ll staff it, oversee it, and distil useful information from its activities? RSVP has the answers. Customer Support isn’t something you can afford to take lightly. Our mission is to help you to be the best you can be by giving your customers the best support services imaginable. We go the extra mile for you and your clients. Contact us today to discover industry-leading solutions to outsourcing your customer support needs.

 

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